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Students’ rights in German examination system: what is the so-called „Prüfungsrecht“?

Rights regarding the German education exams ´system come from public law / administrative law. Starting with the Basic Law on federal laws, provincial laws, and the relevant regulations of the specific public body, it encompasses complex legal provisions. Everyone must have the possibility to pass examinations. This can be a final examination of a vocational training, a master examination up to university examinations. The concept of the test is therefore to be broadly understood. Examination law does not concern only university examinations, but rather it covers all statutory performance evaluations. German examination law also involves professional qualification´s tests. Such examinations could lead to an exceptional pressure. As a result, the performance´s level at the time of the effective examination can turn out lower than expected. Sometimes the result of an exam can have an effect on the career development.

The usually justified feeling of being treated unjustly can be rectified in an administrative procedure and / or before court.

An inspection of the test decisions - also judicial - is guaranteed by constitutional law. This is because the original examination right is based on the fundamental right of professional freedom (Article 12 of the Basic Law). Thus, the assessment of an examination handles in procedural terms, which are usually examined in court.

Examination appeal

Examinations can therefore be contested due to formal or material errors (examination appeal). Not passing a test does not have to be definitive. Examinations can be successfully contested by means of an examination appeal. There are formal regulations for the acceptance of examinations, which are often not or not sufficiently observed.

Examination appeal-Formal errors

In case an exam is terminated earlier than previously stipulated in the examination regulation or if during the examination, renovation or similar external noises have disturbed the concentration, we can talk about “formal errors”. Formal deficiencies in examination rights may also be due to the fact that the Examination Board has not been properly staffed, or if the two-examiner principle is not respected, or if an examiner is discriminatory or biased. If a formal error occurs, you need to make a complaint before leaving the examination room.

Examination appeal-material defects

Material errors may exist if the examiner places one of the examined in a disadvantageous position because of a particular religion for instance, or simply evaluates the content wrongly or rejects a justifiable result. The subject matter of the examination as well as its evaluation is not subjected to the arbitrariness of the examiner. For example, universities and colleges are constantly examining in the light of the multitude of possible studies. The answer-selection (multiple choices) or the bonus malus system (multiple-select) as well as all other test systems are prone to errors. Therefore, many tests can be successfully refuted. However, there are also other errors in examination procedures which can lead to a re-evaluation of the examination or a re-certification of the examination performance.
In the case of material errors, the search for errors usually begins with an inspection of the files in the examination documents.

National Examination Appeal

No matter in which city or state an examination is carried out, we carry out appeals throughout Germany and Europe, in case of international/European examinations.

Contestation of examinations proceedings:

Depending on the state, the examiner may either file an appeal to the examination result or take directly legal action at the Administrative Tribunal. The first step is, as a rule, the inspection of files in the examination documents. It is then necessary to examine the legal aspects of whether there are any errors in the examination, and thus to allow judicial review of the assessment of the examination.

Contestable examinations

What kind of examinations can you contest with our help?

  • Non-promotion/fail at school;
  • Graduation examination;
  • Vocational training exams;
  • Civil service law related assessments/displacements (check: Civil Service Law);
  • University exams (for example, final university examination, diploma, bachelor thesis, master thesis etc.);
  • Civil service law assessment/displacement;
  • Doctoral Thesis or postdoctoral qualification;
  • Granting of credits;
  • Module tests;
  • Exams’ withdrawal;
  • College/University examinations;
  • Intermediate examinations;
  • Final exams.

Examination rights- typical errors

Typical problems regarding the German Law on examinations:

  • Leisure examinations cannot be contested. It is not possible to file appeal against a dance examination organized by a dance-club for instance. The right of the appeal is based on Article 12 of the Basic Law and must concern a professional examination.
  • Examinations from private institutions (school, college, university) cannot be contested on the above-mentioned basis, since the administrative right is opened only for sovereign action. However, an apprenticeship contract concluded in accordance to civil law within a private institution can open the path to ordinary civil courts.
  • A successful examination contestation requires compliance with the obligations of the examinee. These are, inter alia, in the examination regulations.


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